Men’s formalwear has a long and storied legacy, equal parts decadence and refinery, with an alluring dash of gangsterly disrepute thrown in for good measure. Few other garments embody such distinction, allowing their wearer to make such a grand statement. From a summer tuxedo or evening wear to Fall/Winter formalwear, the right tuxedo makes a statement in and of itself.
FORMAL WEAR DEFINED
What do we mean when we say formalwear? We use this general term to describe attire required for certain social events, such as weddings, formal dinners, cocktail parties and so on. This is also known as “black tie” attire, sometimes explicitly stated on event invitations. This generally means a full tuxedo, although one can also pair a dinner jacket with tuxedo trousers during summer months. We love the modern reincarnation of the dinner jacket, which infuses luxe details with refined fabrics.
A BRIEF HISTORY
What we know today as contemporary formal dinner wear got its start in 1865, if rumours are to be believed. The Prince of Wales (who would go on to become Edward VII) had his custom tailor alter an informal evening coats so it resembled something between formal evening tails and a smoking jacket. Whether this was lazy or innovative on his part is to be determined, but either way, it allowed him to carry on with the business of his evening without having to change after dinner. This early version of the dinner suit included formal lapels and buttons, without the tails of a frock coat, and boasted a shorter cut.
The style made its way across Europe and into America, gaining popularity in the glittering Jazz Age of New York the 1920’s, bolstered by a generation of optimism, social freedom and Gatsby-esque exorbitance.
The Golden Age of Hollywood is when the dinner jacket came into its own. At Michael Andrews Bespoke, it’s these images we often think of when creating unique custom formal wear for our clients (or ourselves). Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca made the dazzling double-breasted ivory dinner jacket a heartthrob mainstay, and we’ve put a contemporary twist on it that comes across as equally crisp and formal.
Formalwear, despite its rich, glitterati-inspired history is experiencing somewhat of a modern renaissance, which makes it an exciting area of men’s fashion. But regardless of which day and age we may be in, one thing is certain: formal wear connotes a distinctly masculine image; simultaneously subtle and sexy. The right custom formalwear or summer tuxedo highlights both the Golden Age of Hollywood and a modern sensibility, where the best of both worlds converge.
MODERN SUMMER STYLING
As custom tailors in New York, every day we see the evolving style of our cosmopolitan city. For this season, we didn’t limit ourselves to classic cream or ivory for our seasonal pieces. We’ve introduced luxurious summer tuxedo options in Emerald, Wine and French Blue, all with uber-masculine proportions. These pieces are cut from an ultra-light 8 oz wool and mohair blend to keep you feeling cool through warm months and hot nights.
RECOMMENDED FOR SEASONAL FORMALS
Holland & Sherry – 353023
Holland & Sherry – 353025
Holland & Sherry – 353018
Holland & Sherry – 353028
Scabal – 703644
Scabal – 703645
Dormeuil – 140005
Dormeuil – 146051